April 2009

Jacqui Naylor
You Don’t Know Jacq
Ruby Star

If you’ve been following Jacqui Naylor’s ascent since her 1999 eponymous debut, then more than half of this 16-track collection might sound familiar. Or not.

Naylor, whose enticing sound suggests a honey-lacquered scratching post, is best known for what she calls “acoustic smashing” (the cross-genre layering of the lyric of one tune atop the music of another), but is equally adept at more conventional (though no less inventive) covers of jazz standards and original compositions. Ten of these tracks find Naylor re-imagining “smashes” and selections from five of her six previous albums, including the Gershwins’ “Summertime” over the Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post,” Rodgers and Hart’s “My Funny Valentine” on AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” a sultry bossa reading of REM’s “Losing My Religion” and a darkly fervent cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You.” She opens her hymnal for a sanctified, white-glove treatment of the Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love” and takes a bluesy meander through Billie Holiday’s “Tell Me More and More and Then Some.”

The new tunes find Naylor in a particularly optimistic frame of mind, encouraging listeners to “Celebrate Early & Often,” blowing kisses to jazz radio stations on “This Is the Spot” and so effectively encouraging political invigoration with “Rise Up” that it was featured on Barack Obama’s Web site during his presidential campaign.

Originally published in April 2009
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